roasted parsnips and beetroot w goat's cheese
It mightn’t look like it today, but summer is on the way and this week we had what I reckon might be the last of the parsnips so I thought a dish with them was in order. Like all roots, they are beautiful roasted especially with a drizzle of honey and maybe a splash of balsamic. Do them with beets and carrots and you have a gorgeous  side that will do any roast proud.

More usual in our house though, is the vegetarian route and last night was no exception – I made honey roasted beets and parsnips then a lightly dressed warm lemon cous cous salad with toasted sunflower seeds and some baked goat’s cheese .It’s a combination that’s easy to prepare and always goes down a storm.

I think the best way to go is to  boil the vegetables first (separately or everything will go pink and it is nice to have the 2 colours) so the roasting doesn’t take too long. This way, once the veg is in the oven you’ll have enough time to do the cous cous, slice the goat’s cheese and of course have at least one glass of wine.

Roasted parsnips and beetroot

Balsamic Roasted Beetroot and Parsnips (for 2)

You’ll need:

600gr Parsnips

600gr Beetroot

Olive Oil

Balsamic Vinegar

Honey

Start with your beetroot as they’ll take the longest. Wash but don’t peel them or all their lovely colour will leech out. Cover in water and bring to the boil then simmer til done (ie until you can easily stick a knife through them). This will take anything from 40 minutes to an hour for really big bulbs. When they’re ready take them off the heat, drain and allow to cool slightly. Peel and cut each Beetroot into quarters or eighths depending on the size.

While the beetroot are cooking, you can get on with the parsnips. Wash, peel and cut into chunks or lengths. Boil in salted water until tender (this should take about 15 minutes).

When the vegetables are ready, heat your oven to Gas mark 6 or 200 degrees and warm some olive oil on 2 non stick baking trays (roast the veg separately too to avoid turning the parsnips pink). When the oil is hot, add your veg along with a generous drizzle of honey.  Toss well then put in the oven. After about 25 minutes toss again to make sure things cook evenly. Return to the oven and roast for another 25 minutes, then add a dash of balsamic vinegar, toss and return to the oven for another 15 minutes or until everything has carmelized nicely. Season with salt and pepper and they’re ready to serve.

The Cous  Cous and baked Goat’s Cheese

You’ll need:

Cous Cous

Sunflower Seeds

Lemon Juice

Olive Oil

2 rounds Chevre Goat’s Cheese about 1 inch thick

Rosemary or thyme

Olive oil

Prepare enough cous cous for 2 and dress with some nice olive oil and lemon juice. Toast some sunflower seeds on a dry pan and throw them in.

The baked goat’s cheese is simple -drizzle with olive oil and top with herbs (I used thyme) then bake the rounds on a tray for about 8 minutes. When you think the veg is starting to caramelize, throw them into the oven and everything will be ready together. If you want to make things really special marinate the cheese in oil with some rosemary and thyme a la Alice Waters. This can be done the day before and really brings up the flavour of the herbs in the cheese.

In case you were wondering……..

The leaves in your bag with white stalks are pak Choy and they should be steamed or stirfried with garlic and ginger. The other leaves are  baby(ish) Wicklow spinach 

Hope you enjoy the recipes, have a great week,

Sarah

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Breakfast mushrooms

This week’s flat Irish mushrooms are a great basic. Fried up in butter or olive oil then served on toast they make a brilliant 5 minute breakfast, lunch or snack. Stick them in a folded omelette with some cheese for something a little more substantial. Add some garlic, parsley and a dash of cream to the mix and you’ve got a pasta sauce. And of course they add brilliant flavour to any stew, soup or casserole. Last year’s superwarming chunky soup/stew with cabbage could be one to try seeing as temperatures are dropping.

I’ve been enjoying mushrooms for breakfast a lot recently. Baked in the oven then topped with wilted spinach and cheese they make a brilliant start to the day. This morning I tried some topped with toasted goat’s cheese and leeks cooked down in butter. with a splash of balsamic vinegar just to give things a little bite. Delicious.

Baked mushrooms with garlic, leeks and goat’s cheese (for 2)

You’ll need:

5/6 medium sized flat mushrooms or 2 large portabella with the stems removed

2 tablespoon olive oil

Juice 1/2 lemon

2 cloves garlic crushed

2 leeks trimmed of the tougher green part and washed

A knob of butter

100gr crumbled goat’s cheese

A small handful walnuts

Balsamic vinegar

Begin by mixing the oil, lemon juice and garlic with a little salt and pepper. Place the mushrooms darkside up on a baking tray then drizzle the oil mix over them. Place in a hottish oven (gas mark 5) for 12 minutes. Slice the leeks down the middle then into half moons. Heat a little butter on the pan and  fry the leeks with a pinch of salt for about 7-8 minutes til tender. Take the mushrooms out of the oven and top with the goat’s cheese. Toast under the grill til the cheese is soft with a golden crisp then finally top with the leeks, a drizzle of balsamic and a few broken walnuts. Serve hot on or with toast.

Of course you’ll need some orange juice with those mushrooms and this week sees the return of those great value 6.5k boxes of new season oranges. We’d be delighted to deliver a box with your next order so just give us a shout if you’d like some. They cost €12.

Have a great week,

Sarah

 

 

This week we have a  special treat – courgette flowers. As you can imagine they’re big in Italy where they like them stuffed with Ricotta or Mozzarella then coated in a light tempura style batter and deep-fried til golden. In Mexico they use them to stuff quesadillas and to make soup. You have 2 in your bag this week so soup is going to be out of the question but not to worry, the classic Italian style (stuffed and deep fried) is hard to beat.  This way they gently steam inside the batter and lose none of their delicate flavour. The batter you make to coat them should be as light as possible. I either use self-raising flower and sparkling water which introduces lots of air or a beer batter which works well too. The flowers sometimes come attached to small super-tender courgettes and I generally leave these attached to the flower although you can detach them and cook them separately or add then chopped finely to the stuffing.  This recipe will work with any summer squash flowers or also with pumpkin flowers. 

 The trick with stuffing them is not to overdo it or the cheese will leak out. I reckon about 1/6 ball of Mozzarella is about right and to that you can add: 

  •  half a sun-dried tomato
  • half  an Anchovy (minced)
  • some Mexican Jalepenos – this is something I tried for the first time during the week and it’s really good

You can of course use other cheeses. Feta and goat’s cheese both work well but maybe not with the anchovies as they are quite salty and the saltiness of the fish is overkill. Another filling to try is soft goat’s cheese (about a teaspoon) and a drizzle of honey over the finished dish just before serving really makes it. 

Tempura of Stuffed Courgette Flowers 

You’ll need: 

1 cup self-raising flower  

Sparkling water  

Pinch of salt  

Courgette flowers  

Vegetable oil 

The beer batter – Just use beer instead of sparkling water 

Wipe the flowers with a dry cloth and carefully open out the petals. Stuff with whatever you fancy from the ideas above (if you have any more please share!!) 

Close up the petals to seal in the filling.       

Make the batter by mixing the flour with the sparkling water. Start by adding a cup then mix adding more water as necessary until you have a batter as thick as buttermilk. Heat the oil in a pan to about 160 degrees. Before you start frying drop a tiny bit of batter into the pan and if it turns golden brown in about a minute you’re ready to go. Any faster and you should turn down the heat a little or the flowers will burn on the outside before the courgette has cooked. So, when the oil is ready coat each flower carefully and gently put them into the pan and fry until golden. This will take about 2-3 minutes on each side. Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon and some salt and pepper. 

Take it further….. 

 Make a rich gutsy tomato sauce to serve with the tempura flowers – Gently saute chopped onion (1 0r 2 should do it) in olive oil over a low heat until starting to change colour. Add 4 or 5 cloves garlic chopped and cook for a further 5 minutes until very soft. Add a tin of chopped tomatoes, a generous pinch of sugar and some salt  and continue cooking for a further 30 minutes or so until it has reduced by half . Serve with the flowers and  a green salad. 

 These babies are really really fragile so whatever you decide to do, do it ASAP – this evening or for lunch tomorrow to get them at their best – You won’t regret it! 

You will of course have batter mix leftover and I’d suggest using it to make a tempura with other veg while you’re at it. Peppers, carrots, aubergine and  scallions all work well. 

And for dessert? ……….. cherries of course!!! 

It’s officially summer but the weather says different. This week I’ve got the first of Marc Michel’s gorgeous lettuce and courgettes to cook with and I had thought a salad with the courgettes was going to be on the menu but somehow the oven got switched on…. I baked them with a rich, gutsy tomato sauce and goat’s cheese. As usual I was under pressure timewise so I kept in very simple.The sauce was nothing more than a tin of tomatoes and olive oil (along with a little salt and sugar of course) cooked down for about 25 minutes over a medium heat. I sliced the courgettes quite finely and griddled them  to add more flavour then layered up everything and baked for 25 minutes.  Marc’s  lettuce went alongside tossed with a handful of broken walnuts then dressed in olive oil and balsamic.

Baked Courgettes with Tomato and Goat’s cheese

You’ll need:

400gr Courgettes

1 tin chopped tomatoes

Sugar

Salt

100gr Goat’s Cheese crumbled

1 tablespoon breadcrumbs

Begin with the sauce. Empty the tomatoes into a small pan along with a dash of olive oil and a pinch of salt and sugar. Cook over a medium heat for about 25 minutes while you get on with everything else.

Cut the courgettes in half so you have pieces about 7 cm long. Slice each half lengthways so you have long slices about 2 mm thick. Heat a griddle pan. Add the courgettes and cook on each side for about 2-3 minutes or until you get those snazzy black lines. When they are all done set aside.   To put the dish together take a small oven dish and smear the bottom with a little of the tomato sauce. Add a layer of courgettes, a couple of dollops of the sauce and about a quarter of the cheese. Continue layering ending with goat’s cheese. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs then bake at Gas mark 5 for about 25 minutes.

Enjoy!

Butternut and Mirabelles

August 21, 2009

Hi there,

This week we have the start of Autumn varieties – Butternut Squash and New Parsnips. Seems unfair given we haven’t really had a summer but I suppose there’s always September (we Irish never give up the faith). This week’s recipe is a salad with Butternut Squash and Rocket. If you haven’t had it before, Butternut can be boiled, steamed or roasted (there are several recipes already on the blog including a really amazing soup).  When you roast Butternut it caramelises on the outside adding great flavour. Then I added some toasted Pine nuts and a little Goat’s Cheese. Perfect for a Saturday lunch…….

Roasted Butternut Salad with Rocket(Arugula)  and Goat’s Cheese

You’ll need:

300gr peeled Butternut cut into bite sized Cubes

60 gr Rocket (about what you have in this week’s bag) or any other salad leaves

A handful of Pine nuts

150gr Chevre Goat’s Cheese

Olive Oil

Balsamic Vinegar

Begin by preparing the Butternut. I find the best way is to quarter it remove the seeds and stringy bits and then chop it up.Put the Butternut on a roasting tray and with your hands smear about 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil on them then roast in a hottish oven (Gas mark 6 or 200 degrees) for about 30- 40 minutes or until the pieces are soft and starting to caramelize.

You can toast the Pine nuts in the oven (on a separate tray) so stick them in and toast until they’ve started to change colour (should take about 10 minutes but check on them after 5). When the Butternut is ready let it cool down a bit them toss it with the Rocket and Pine nuts. Dress the lot with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar. Eat with nice bread or a Cous Cous salad (try Cous Cous, Chopped Dates, some Sultanas and some toasted Cumin Seeds dressed in Olive Oil and Lemon Juice)

The tiny plums in your bag this week are Mirabelles and they’re only around for a couple of weeks every year. Completely delicious, they should be eaten asap and there’s no need to add anything – Yum!!!!

Have a great weekend,

Sarah

Hi everyone,

It’s starting to look like summer and all those wintery bakey kind of things that seemed to hit the spot a couple of months/weeks ago are the last thing you want to eat. It’s time for lighter food and Frittata is one of those great summer dishes. Frittata is an Italian dish and is basically an open-faced omelette. Unlike other omelettes, it is not folded and it’s texture is firm and set (but never dry) rather then creamy or runny. Another difference is that it is cooked slowly over a low heat. In terms of fillings, it’s like the rest of Italian cuisine i.e. it tends to have only a few (sometimes just one or two) but very well-chosen ingredients as opposed to the fifteen you tend to get when ordering a vegetable/vegetarian omelette in many Irish restaurants.

Frittatas are served hot, warm or at room temperature. I think hot tends to kill some of the flavour and serving them from (or even putting them in) the fridge does something horrible to them so I’d favour warm or room temperature myself. They can be eaten alone or as part of a selection of antipasto style dishes and they make a great sandwich.

The basic technique for cooking a Frittata is the same for all the types below and is as follows: Beat 6 Organic (in a dish like this you can really taste the difference between organic and non) Eggs adding Salt and freshly ground Pepper to taste. One thing though – never crack and beat eggs until you are ready to use them – if they sit around premixed before you start cooking something very strange happens to their flavour and texture. Melt Butter or Olive Oil on a 10 inch non-stick pan. When it heats up and in the case of butter, begins to foam pour in the egg mixture and turn the heat down low. When the Eggs have set and thickened and only the surface is runny you can either a) put it under a preheated grill taking it out when the top of the frittata has set (but not browned) or b) place a large plate or board on top of the pan and turn the pan over onto it, then slide the frittata back onto the pan (the top uncooked side will now be on the bottom) and cook for a few more minutes. This technique, also used for the Spanish style potato omelette, sounds trickier than it actually is and has the added advantage of impressing dinner guests no end. A whole other technique, which also works well, is to pour your egg mixture into a buttered baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes in a preheated oven or until the frittata is no longer runny.

Frittata with Courgettes

You’ll need:

1 small Onion (sliced very thinly)

Olive Oil 350-400gr.

Courgettes (about what you have in this week’s bag)

6 Organic Eggs 2 Tablespoons grated Pamesan Cheese

Torn Basil Leaves (if you have them)

Courgette and egg

Courgette and egg

Sauté the Onion in a dash of Olive Oil with a pinch of Salt until it softens and begins to brown. Wash the Courgette(s) and slice into 3mm discs. Add to the Onions with a pinch of Salt and cook until golden brown. Take the vegetables off the heat, drain them and allow to cool slightly. Make the Frittata as described above adding the vegetables and 2 Tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan along with some torn Basil leaves if you have them to the egg mixture first.

chopped Zucchini

chopped Zucchini

Variation: Instead of adding the Parmesan you could top off your Frittata with discs of Goat’s cheese and brown under the grill at the end. If you cook the Frittata in the oven the Goat’s cheese can go on at the beginning

Frittata with Onions

You’ll need:

2 medium sized Onions (finely sliced)

Olive Oil

6 Organic Eggs

2 Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese grated

Slowly sauté the Onions in about 3 Tablespoon Olive Oil and some Salt in a covered pan. When the Onions soften, uncover the pan and cook until they turn a rich golden brown. Drain and allow to cool slightly then add them to the eggs with a couple of tablespoons Parmesan (or do the Goat’s Cheese thing described above) then proceed as described above.

Frittata with Tomatoes, Feta cheese and basil

 

tomato and zucchini frittata

tomato and zucchini frittata

 

 

You’ll need:

2 medium sized tomatoes

6 Organic Eggs

125gr. crumbled Feta (or Goat’s Cheese)

10 torn Basil leaves.

Chop the Tomato and add to the beaten eggs along with the Feta and Basil leaves. Proceed as above.

The above are some of the more classic fillings (at least the first two are). If you want to try others, Asparagus and Artichokes make amazing Frittata fillers. Green Beans are also a classic. After that it’s really up to you. The only thing I’d caution against are Mushrooms, which, while they taste great, tend to turn the Frittata a rather disturbing murky brown colour so I’d leave them for a French style omelette. On a heavier note, the Italians also make Frittata with leftover Spaghetti (!!!). This has always struck me as a comedy type dish so having never tried it, I can’t vouch for it (If anyone decides to go for laughs of disbelief at their dinnertable I’d be very interested to know how you get on). For three eggs you need 220gr. Spaghetti (sauced with anything except clams or shellfish which would dry out. If you don’t have any leftover pasta you can make some and toss it in Butter, Parmesan and Chopped Parsley, then leave to cool a little before continuing), and 2 Tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan.

Our Fruit and Mediterranean selections all have Apricots this week which are probably good to go this weekend – Enjoy!

Hope you enjoy these recipes,

Have a great weekend,

Sarah ***********************************************************************************************************************************************

Spinach

April 6, 2009

Hi everyone,

This week our bags have lovely Spinach which is a great fast food. After a thorough wash (it can be very gritty), you destem the leaves then pack them in a pot and steam them in the water left clinging to the leaves. Cooking will take about 2-3 minutes then you can serve it straight up with a knob of Butter or a drizzle of Olive Oil. For a really delicious sidedish sauté a few chopped cloves of Garlic in Butter then throw on the Spinach, mix everything together well and serve. For a maincourse add some cream and Parmesan and you’ve got a very quick pasta sauce. This week’s recipe is a pasta dish but without the cream as I’m sure that we’d all like to hit the beach at some stage this year…………..

spinach

spinach

Pasta with Spinach, Garlic and Black Olives (for 3-4 people)

You’ll need:

250-300gr Spinach (about what you have in your bag this week)
5 Cloves Garlic
Butter
Olive oil
Handful of stoned Black Olives roughly chopped
Pasta (whatever you like)
Parmesan Cheese

First of all stick on the kettle for the pasta (this dish is fast) Wash and destem your spinach then roughly shred it. Stem the leaves as described above then wring out any water with your hands as soon as it cools down.
While the Spinach is cooling stick on the pasta.
Chop the Garlic then gently sauté it in a large knob of Butter and some Olive Oil. When the Garlic has softened (don’t let it change colour as it’ll start to burn very quickly after that) add the Spinach and toss well to make sure it all gets coated in Butter and Garlic. When the pasta is cooked drain it and mix into the pasta adding some more Butter and Olive Oil aswell as a couple of tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan and the Olives.
Season with Salt and Pepper and serve immediately.

Spinach is, of course, fab in all kinds of salads and sambos.Try it with sundried Tomatoes, toasted Pinenuts and Goat’s Cheese or with Walnuts and Feta. Dress with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar and serve with a simple Omelette or some fish.

Hope you enjoy these recipes,
Have a great week,
Sarah